Today, folks around the Tri-Cities gathered for a lasting tribute to a local hero.
At 11 o’clock Saturday morning, the Elizabethton bridge on Milligan Highway below Happy Valley High School was dedicated to Staff Sergeant Billy Joe Ellis. Ellis was a Vietnam Veteran believed to have died on January 3, 1968– although his body was never returned home.
Senator Rusty Crowe and Johnson City representative John Holsclaw sponsored the bridge dedication bill for the POW/MIA officer. While it was a long road to get the legislation passed in Nashville, Holsclaw said he hopes the bridge is a long-standing reminder of those who give the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.
“When you see that name across the bridge maybe it triggers some memory or recognition that the ultimate price was paid,” Holsclaw said.
The former classmates of Staff Sergeant Ellis attended today’s dedication and had the honor of unveiling the memorial bridge signs on State Route 359.
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